May 2018: Ministry of Hope and Healing

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May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. Romans 15:5

War claims many victims in many ways, and long after the peace agreements are signed. A civil war, fought by Sri Lanka’s Tamil people during the late 20th century and settled in the 21st, began in the hope of establishing an independent Tamil state on the island of Ceylon/Sri Lanka. When the fighting stopped, anger did not.

The resentment of each side toward the other lingers. Families who lost husbands and fathers, leaving behind families headed by women to struggle in the male-dominated Sri Lankan culture, feel the greatest effects of the war.

Sutha is a war widow who worked with Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) clergy in her area to begin self-help groups to assist widows and their families in facing threats of malnutrition, domestic violence, drug abuse, sexual violence, dishonest lenders, and the limited acceptable ways for women to earn money to support their families. The self-help groups proved their effectiveness and the Wanni Mission was born, continuing to help women meet the challenges that sometimes await them in their own communities.

Despite many obstacles, the Wanni Mission has grown to address an increasing number of needs. The success of the program attracts groups to join the Wanni Mission and grow both the number of families and the scope of activities offered.

Sutha is a seminary student in a program to enable women to prepare for ordained or lay leadership in CACM. For Sutha, ordination will be the official acknowledgment of something that has been true for a long time; Sutha is already a minister.

Andy Jepson served as a long-term volunteer with the Church of the American Ceylon Mission. Her appointment was made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.

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